By Russell Sellers, Army Flier StaffJune 9, 2011
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- There was no glory to be found for the Spartans of 1st Battalion, 223rd Aviation Regiment in its game against Army Fleet Support Lowe Field June 6.
After a back-and-forth battle where the lead changed three times, Lowe Field ultimately won the day, 17-13.
Bud Moore, AFS coach, said the victory wasn’t an easy one and that it was the power of the team’s hitting that helped it pull it off.
“We didn’t do anything special, but our bats were working,” he said. “They made a few substitutions that helped us out a lot and they just didn’t hit the ball the way we did.”
While the victory was a good one, Moore said the team has a few things to work on in practice.
“We had a lot of errors on the infield and that’s what we’re going to work on this next week,” he said.
The two teams were evenly matched from the beginning, as AFS took the first at-bat and put up four runs in the first inning. The power of hitters like Ivan San Inocencio, AFS outfielder, and Moore, AFS pitcher, helped put the team up early and set the pace for what turned out to be a long night for both teams.
While down four runs, the Spartans weren’t going to go away that easily. Lawerance Coe, Spartans shortstop, slammed a one-RBI home run in his first at-bat. Unfortunately for his team, that would be the only two runs scored in the inning.
The second inning was a different game for AFS due to the Spartans’ sudden ability to field the ball. AFS was held to only one run for the second inning and then the Spartans decided to make a game of things.
Lucas Ferguson, Spartans outfielder, got things moving with a base hit RBI, but it was Richard Johnson, Spartans first baseman, who kicked the rally into gear with a two-RBI double that tied the game.
The gloves just weren’t working for AFS in the second inning, but the team did manage to keep the tie from being broken.
For the next two innings, the teams held each other to only one run each inning until AFS was able to hold onto a lead in the bottom of the fifth, thanks largely to a series of errors on the part of the Spartans infield.
The sixth inning wasn’t any better for the Spartans pitching staff as the bases were loaded twice due to walks, along with two runs by walk-in. That, combined with no runs scored in the bottom of the inning made things look grim for a Spartans potential comeback.
However, the Spartans gloves finally heated up in the seventh and held AFS scoreless in the inning. But the team, down 12-8, still had to find a way to put runs on the board, and find a way it did.
John Burgan, Spartans outfielder, kicked the rally back into gear with a two-RBI double. A series of missed throws and errors allowed the Spartans to tie the game again in the seventh, 12-12.
However, the sudden prospect of losing the game caused the AFS bats to come alive, once again.
After an error allowed one run, Ken Maddox, AFS outfielder, hit an infield home run with two RBIs. AFS was shut down after scoring two more runs, bringing its lead to 17-12.
The Spartans came back to the plate for one more try, but it wasn’t to be. An error allowed the team to get one more run in just as Coe, the team’s power hitter, came to bat. His steam ran out just as he made connection with the final pitch of the game that looked to be sailing over the right field fence, but it came up short and landed in the glove of a waiting AFS player.
“Our team just fell apart at the end,” Richard Johnson, Spartans coach, said. “The heat and fatigue was bad, but you can’t plan for everything. We had a lot of good guys playing, but it just didn’t come together.”
Johnson said the team will have “more dedicated” practices in the coming weeks to make the team better prepared for longer playing times.